The woman accused of ordering the murder of her estranged husband in a Forest Hills playground spied on the police precinct investigating the murder, a police sergeant testified Wednesday.
Sgt. Claudia Bartolomei took the stand in the murder and conspiracy trial against Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova and her uncle Mikhail Mallayev in Queens Supreme Court. Borukhova, 35, who is an immigrant from Uzbekistan, allegedly hired Mallayev to shoot her estranged husband, Dr. Daniel Malakov, on Oct. 28, 2007, according to prosecutors.
Bartolomei, who is the head of the 112th Precinct’s detective squad, told the jury that on the day of the murder Borukhova was quiet while she was being interviewed as a witness but became “irate” when officers informed her that the Administration for Children’s Services would be taking her then-4-year-old daughter Michelle.
Shortly after ACS informed Borukhova about her daughter, her brother Shlomo Borukhova, sister Natella Natanova and brother-in-law Arthur Natanova arrived in a minivan outside the 112th precinct with cameras, according to Bartolomei.
“Anytime an officer would come in, they would snap pictures with their cameras,” the sergeant testified.
Bartolomei testified that Michelle was at the precinct when ACS workers came to take her away. On her way home later that night, the sergeant said, she saw Borukhova inside a white Nissan Altima parked opposite the station, looking at the front door.
“When I returned the next morning she was in the same vehicle, in the same parking spot,” Bartolomei testified.
Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal has contended that Borukhova had Malakov killed after he had gained custody of Michelle.
Malakov, 34, an orthodontist and an Uzbek immigrant, was dropping off the girl at the Annadale Playground to visit Borukhova when he was shot.
Mallayev, 51, was arrested at his residence in suburban Atlanta three weeks after the murder, when investigators matched his fingerprints to prints found on a makeshift silencer left at the park by the shooter, Leventhal said. Prosecutors charged Borukhova with murder and conspiracy last February after police found that she and Mallayev had nearly 70 phone conversations in the days leading up to the murder and two more afterward.
Bartolomei said she and her detectives conducted searches and wiretaps of Borukhova’s Forest Hills apartment and nearby medical office after Mallayev was arrested and found more evidence that implicated Mallayev as the gunman. Officers confiscated an audio cassette recording in Borukhova’s apartment that contained a conversation between Borukhova and Mallayev and a sign-in sheet at her medical office on 108th Street that had Mallayev’s name listed for Nov. 7.
Prosecutors contend that Borukhova paid Mallayev nearly $20,000 for the murder and he came to New York from Georgia on Nov. 7 to deposit the money in several banks.
Bartolomei said she had the audio cassette enhanced by audio experts from the NYPD and FBI.
If convicted on their charges, Mallayev and Borukhova face life in prison without parole.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@t
©2009 Community News Group
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